A big parcel arrived this morning, as is often the case it came from my sister. It occurred to me that the whole business of monetary exchange and consumption, of acquiring stuff in general, is possibly a manipulated surrogate for the giving and receiving of gifts; we seek to achieve the same warmth we feel when we give or receive with love by exchanging money and giving to ourselves, feeding a craving which can only remain unsatisfied.
On the other hand it can be very nice to treat yourself, and the wrong present given in a spirit of dull obligation without love or discernment is a sorry thing, so perhaps I'm talking bollocks.
To return to the parcel; it contained, among other things: a white elephant tea cosy and two black bird coffee cosies; saffron, argan oil, nigella seeds and almond skin cream that smells of marzipan from Morocco; and a CD of just short of 200 photos of that country and a request that if I could manage it, could I edit them and get them printed as Moo postcards. I've done this before for my sister's holiday photos; she was a bit apologetic this time, fearing that, she felt, the photos weren't very good and perhaps I couldn't make much of them ... She has quite an old and simple compact, and was not, I got the feeling, as stimulated and relaxed on this trip as on others, so the photos were quite patchy, but well worth sifting, cleaning up and trimming.
And it just so happened that Moo had sent out an e-mail that their 30% off everything sale was closing at midnight tonight, so the job was on to get sixty images sorted out in the space of today.
Bliss and joy. I love editing photos, and consequently feel it's an unjustifiable self-indulgence that I don't deserve to spend too much time on. However, doing it for love for someone else, who has made and done endless lovely things for us, with a serious money-saving deadline to boot, allowed me to spend every available moment on it today.
I'm sure this ought to be something one could do for money. People have taken on board the idea that digital photography allows them to snap away with total abandon in pursuit of one good shot out of many, but often underestimate the time and effort this scattergun approach requires in editing. How often have you heard people groan about being subjected to other people's endless unedited holiday photos?
But going through them and sorting out the better ones, touching out the odd unwanted lamp post or electricity cable and cropping off the fat bald strangers wandering through the shot, brightening the pictures up, and snipping bits and pieces out of even the least interesting of them to make into patchwork collages, makes this potentially frustrating and passive experience a satisfying one. I started off finding this rather muddled welter of images of Morocco quite off-putting, but by the end I felt I had shared something of it and enjoyed it.
However, I know my sister's eye and understand a little of what matters to her, and I don't mind taking a lot of time and trouble over it. I'm not sure I could do the same for strangers' snaps of themselves getting drunk and sunburned on beaches on the Maldives. Sorry, I know that sounds horribly judgemental.
Anyway, here's a handful of them. Not my photos, just my editing.